There’s a lot of misconceptions about estate planning. Perhaps the biggest myth is thinking only the wealthy need a will. But wills are only one aspect of estate planning, and many people in Raleigh benefit from putting a plan in place.
By making a plan now, you are relieving your family from a lot of stress.
You should always consult an experienced Raleigh estate planning attorney when developing a plan for your future and financial security. Issues can become complex, and you don’t want to leave anything to chance.
With over two decades of experience helping families in Raleigh plan for their futures, call attorney Jonathan Breeden at the Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 or use our contact form to reach out.
Estates and wills of Raleigh residents are handled in the Wake County Courthouse – Estates Division. The Estates and Wills Office in Raleigh is located in the Wake County Courthouse. They are located at 316 Fayetteville St., 12th Floor, Raleigh, NC 27601. Their phone number is 919-792-4450.
To obtain file access or official copies of documents, you can email the Estates and Wills Office at Wake.Estates.CopyRequest@nccourts.org. If you want to visit the clerk in person, you should call and secure an appointment.
The Wake County Estates Division has several self-help packets that can be used for estates and wills:
The estate planning process in Wake County can be difficult. You might forget something or leave someone out with a DIY approach. By working with a lawyer, you can ensure you have everything planned out properly if you can no longer handle your estate.
As you can see from the links above, dozens of forms need to be completed when someone passes away. If you are tasked with handling someone’s estate, you need to work with a lawyer to make sure you get things done efficiently and correctly.
If anyone challenges your will, it can create problems for all of your loved ones. Even creditors can cause problems after your death. Make sure your assets are allocated appropriately by working with a lawyer.
A will is a map of your decisions and intentions regarding your property when you pass away. It allows you to choose the person you want in charge of your assets and distribute them to the intended beneficiaries.
If you comply with state laws, the document acts as a legally binding set of instructions. The best way to ensure this happens is to have an experienced Raleigh estate planning lawyer assist with drafting your will.
One key aspect of creating a will is appointing a trusted person to take care of your final affairs. The person you designate, referred to as the executor of your estate, is required to follow the terms of your will and rules regarding estate administration.
The probate process won’t apply to every item that you own. For instance, you may have a joint interest with the right of survivorship in real estate or be listed jointly with someone else on the title of a car. In these situations, your interest transfers over to the survivor.
If you designate a person as a “pay-on-death” beneficiary, that individual receives the asset by operation of law. Examples include the proceeds of bank accounts and life insurance policies.
You don’t have to be rich to have a will. The benefits of creating an official will include:
People often think they can simply write up a will that details their final wishes without an attorney. While North Carolina does recognize a “holographic will,” which is often handwritten, people do this at their own risk. There are strict rules for what makes such a will legally valid. Without an attorney, it may be disregarded.
Your estate must be administered in the county of your primary residence. If you live in Raleigh, your estate will be settled through the Clerk of Court at the Wake County Courthouse – Office of Estates and Wills.
When you meet with your Raleigh estate planning attorney, you should discuss your goals and how you want to make them happen. During your consultation, a lawyer will review your finances and go over which documents you need.
Once the items are prepared, review them for accuracy. Your attorney can then properly execute your will.
The original document will be given to you, and your estate lawyer will maintain another copy. The court does not require a copy before your death. Like all critical documents, wills should be stored in a secure but accessible location. We advise people to let their executor know the location of their will and how to access it when necessary.
You can change your will at any point as long as you have not been legally determined to have lost the required mental capacity to do so.
If you want to change your will, you should schedule a meeting with your attorney right away.
A living will is more important during your life than upon your death. This document, otherwise known as an “advance directive,” states your instructions about different forms of medical treatment if you’re unable to express your wishes.
A living will makes your intentions known when you’re:
You may approve or disapprove of:
By executing a living will, you can tell your loved ones which medical procedures you consent to and which types of treatment you reject. This reduces confusion and disputes amongst family members in difficult times.
Powers of Attorney are legal mechanisms that grant a person authority to handle specific issues if you can’t. By completing these documents according to the requirements of North Carolina law, you appoint someone to act as your agent.
A power of attorney lawyer can help you establish a:
Another issue that may come up with estate planning is determining guardianship needs. The North Carolina guardianship process can be complex, and you should always work with a Raleigh guardianship attorney to make sure you don’t make any mistakes.
Your estate planning options will vary depending on your circumstances. To ensure you make the best choices for your future and the outcome of your estate, contact attorney Jonathan Breeden.
The Breeden Law office has been assisting people in Wake County with their needs for over 20 years. We are here to explain your options, execute your final wishes, and help your family in any way we can.